Which sectors and industries are most likely to pay sub-poverty wages?


Here in Alberta, three industries are particularly notable in terms of their over-reliance on low-wage employment: the accommodation and food services sector; the retail trade sector and the agricultural sector. More than two-thirds (67 per cent) of the people working in Alberta’s accommodation and food services sector are paid $15 per hour or less. In the retail trade sector the corresponding figure is 51 per cent; and in the agricultural sector, the figure is 38 per cent. No other sectors in the Alberta economy come close to these sectors when it comes to the low-wages they pay. This helps explain why it is employers from these sectors who have been most vocal in their opposition to a $15 minimum wage. They’ve built their business models on a foundation of poverty wages – and they don’t want anything to change.

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